The Munich Security Conference is an international annual conference that was called for the first time in February 1963. At this conference, politicians, military and business leaders, representatives of nongovernmental organizations and security experts have discussions outside the diplomatic and protocol customary practices. The main goal of the conference is to discuss topical problems related to the foreign, security and defense policy. This is the largest world conference centering on such problems. At the annual conference in Munich, they do not adopt concrete decisions, but the debates and the messages formulated on the sidelines of the meeting shape the international narrative that in time results in concrete political decisions of countries.
This year, the conference held in the capital of Bavaria pursued the major goal of setting a strategic view, which transposed content of the report that is traditionally prepared for the conference and that animated the discussions about the current situation in the world. In a natural way, the discussions and debates this year centered on the Russo-Ukrainian war, while the strategic view included the results of the analysis of processes catalyzed by this war. Russia was the great absentee from the Conference this year. Its officials didn’t receive participation invitations from the organizers that this way showed their disapproval of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine.
Re:vision = review
The report prepared for the Munich Conference 2023 was entitled Re:vision. The name of the report itself suggested the main problem that amounted to the necessity of reviewing what was earlier considered a common view and was accepted by the majority, on how the world should be organized after the Cold War. Resorting to such a revision, the report authors proposed for debates a new vision on the changing global world that comes out on a picture divided into spaces formed of different infrastructures – commercial, financial, technological, information. The competition for control over these spheres can become the principal driving force for the new world competition.
The Russo-Ukrainian war brought together and strengthened the Western bloc represented by G7, which considers itself to be one of the dominant poles of the global world. But inside the Western civilization community, there is a threatening tendency as regards the erosion of democracy that earlier ensured its unity. On the other hand, current China is able to follow its own path of civilization model and shows already that it can control the economic and information infrastructure, which makes it a global competitor for the West.
Competition for influence in Global South zone
The idea of a competition between the dominant powers for influence in the Global South zone, which until World War II was mainly a colony of the West, became more evident in Munich this year. But the post-colonial period was also a disappointment in many regards for the countries from the South, primarily because most of them didn’t manage to build high-quality Western democracy and, consequently, didn’t manage to become the West. Instead, China offered them a future that does not necessitate democratic development and managed to attract these counties to its economic and trade infrastructure. But the West’s competition with China for the Global South is in full swing and the results of this competition are not at all clear yet.
For the West, the problem of competition with China amounts to the question: what does the Western offer for the Global South consist of except for the eroding democracy, when victory in the competition with China in the absence of a new offer is impossible? The report prepared for the Munich Security Conference amounts to the proposal that the Western civilizational effort should focus not on the formal attachment to the norms of democracy, but on the rules of conduct that derive from the democratic organization of societies. Consequently, it is proposed assessing the partners of the West not by the autocracy-democracy scale, but according to the criterion of observance of the globally accepted rules of intra-societal conduct and in the relations between the states.
Re:vision = Russia loses relevance
If the view shaped in Munich reflects a new international reality, Putin’s Russia that is subject to a severe regime of international sanctions owing to the violation of the global rules by staring a war against Ukraine loses its relevance as a separate entity with own infrastructure for the circulation of goods, finances, technology and information. In this regard, Russia already lost the war even if it yet occupies a large part of the Ukrainian territory, keeping millions of Ukrainian citizens hostage and threatening the world with a nuclear war. The shortage of Russian subjectivity in the new world order was formulated most sincerely by the President of France Emmanuel Macron, who in his speech at the Conference asked to restructure the UN Security Council, laying emphasis on better representation of the Global South and on the revision of the role of Russia. The latter, as a permanent member of the Security Council, instead of respecting the common rules, consciously destroys them.
Great powers realize potential not in order to destroy it in nuclear cataclysm
The logic of the discourse that dominated at the Munich Security Conference presents the new world order that is being established as the result of the competition between the West and China, which will compete for the sympathies of the Global South for the purpose of gaining influence on global infrastructure. The meaning of such competition between the global powers that possess destructive nuclear potential for human civilization resides in the imperative of a peaceful competition that, in the last instance, will lead to the progress of the world. In the logic of the new world order under formation, there is no place for the hostile and suicidal policy of the current Russia of Putin. The great international powers realize their potential not in order to destroy it in a nuclear cataclysm.
Important symbolism resides in the fact that after the Munich Security Conference, the main diplomat of China Wang Yi travelled to Moscow, while the President of the U.S. Joseph Biden went to Kiev. The new world order is interested in ending the war in Ukraine by respecting the rules of the game that Russia violated so impudently. Definitely, the new security narrative does not guarantee the fact that Ukraine will triumph. But this narrative means that the new world order cannot distinguish itself in conditions of tolerance of the situation when the rules are violated by the current administration of the Kremlin. If the international community focuses on the limits of the “humiliation” of Putin’s Russia through the conditions of the future peace treaty, the solution of the final victory of Russia over Ukraine no longer exists even if Ukraine’s allies expect that the victory of this country will not go beyond its constitutional territory and will not turn into revenge against the Russian population for the atrocities of the occupation.
The West and China will take care of nuclear potential of Russia
Russia almost certainly cannot win the war against Ukraine, if only the syndrome of suicidal political schizophrenia didn’t become a pandemic disease at the Kremlin. This means that both the Wrest and China will do their best to ensure that Russia’s nuclear weapons after the war in Ukraine remain under the centralized trust management of reasonable politicians and of the army. Consequently, the imperial whims of the Kremlin will be radically reduced, the Russian society being stimulated to concentrate its efforts on the internal reform, to the detriment of the external expansion of historical Russia.
Ex-Soviet states will decide fate themselves, including the Republic of Moldova
Given the new world order dominated by the West and China, the former Soviet republics will breathe easily, getting rid of the suffocating tutelage of Russia’s imperialist revenge. Each of the new states from the post-Soviet space will have the own development trajectory that will be set in accordance with the historical tradition, particularities of the national culture, attachment to civilizational models existing in the contemporary world. Within the new world order, in Moldovan society freed from the internal tutelage of Moscow and also in Romanian society beyond the Prut, the debate on the restoration of the Romanian national unity as a country project and civilizational development model will definitely be given a special impetus. This will mean that the domination on the political Olympus in Bucharest and in Chisinau during the next few years will belong to political forces that will be able to correctly perceive the development trends of the two Romanian states and, by their messages and actions, will be in unison with Romanians’ profound expectations concerning the implementation of the national unity project.
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